Massachusetts petition drive deadline at doorstep of hotly-debated issues

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July 3, 2012


By Al Ortiz

BOSTON, Massachusetts: Massachusetts has the most complex initiative process among the states with petition drive deadlines this week. Although July 3 was the petition drive deadline for initiatives with ambitions of making the fall ballot, the summer signature submission was the last of many hurdles proponents had to jump to get to this point.

Proponents of potential citizen-initiated measures must have collected 68,911 signatures by November 23, 2011 to turn them into local registrars. After it finding that enough valid signatures were collected, petitions are then returned to supporters, who this year had until the December 7, 2011 petition drive deadline to turn those signatures in to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office.

Once signatures are deemed valid, proposed laws are then sent to the Massachusetts General Assembly for consideration.

If the general assembly does not choose to make the proposal a law, supporters must then gather additional signatures to obtain ballot access. Those signatures must be obtained from about 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last governor election and supporters must submit them to local clerks. This amounts to about 11,000 signatures

Only four initiatives, out of the original 31 that were proposed for circulation with the Massachusetts Attorney General, made it to the state legislature, and three were in the second signature phase.

Two initiatives, a "right to repair" proposal and teacher evaluation initiative, were considered by the lawmaking body, with the "right to repair" initiative being rejected. Therefore, supporters of that plan are gathering signatures.

The other two proposals include a medical marijuana initiative and a "death with dignity" act.

Editor's Note: Deadline is usually first Wednesday of July. However, Massachusetts deadline was on July 3 due to the July 4 holiday.

Initiative tracking

Three measures submitted signatures to the Massachusetts Secretary of State, according to reports.[1]

Tracking as of 5:00 p.m. EST:[2]

Type Title Subject Description Signatures submitted?
IndISS Medical Marijuana Initiative Medical marijuana Would allow for the use of medical marijuana in the state. Category:Ballot measure endorsements
IndISS "Death with Dignity" Initiative Assisted death Would establish an "Act Relative to Death with Dignity." Category:Ballot measure endorsements
IndISS "Right to Repair" Initiative Business regulation Deals with vehicle owner and business protections in the state. Category:Ballot measure endorsements
Specifics on how many signatures were submitted will be given when Secretary of State's office releases numbers later this week

See also

Ballotpedia News


  1. The Republic, "Advocates confident questions will be on ballot," July 2, 2012
  2. According to Secretary of State's office when contacted by Ballotpedia.